Recently, in the discussion board of my Differentiated Instruction class, we talked about different ways to teach students and ways for students to show understanding. Much of the class focuses on student learning styles and as we talk about our own hangups in terms of learning.
I run participants in the class through a discussion of what learning styles mean for students. In doing so, we talk about how not all students are alike. You will have some who are visual learners, others auditory, and some kinesthetic. If you follow Gardner’s train of thought, it can be more complex than that, but in either case, if you focus solely on an auditory means of teaching (standard lecture), you’re going to lose more than half of your audience as your visual learners can’t picture what you’re saying and your kinesthetic learners – well let’s just say they’re itching to get out of their seat and out of the room!
To get teachers in the mode of understanding the impact, I have them take a Learning Style Quiz to see where they lie on the spectrum of learning. Try these for yourself and your class:
- Screecast-o-matic – http://screencast-o-matic.com/ – record anything on your computer screen, with audio, and save to YouTube or as an MP4 file to your desktop.
- Logitech Headset with Microhone – http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-981-000214-Stereo-Headset-H110/dp/B003H4QPJQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1422574510&sr=8-2&keywords=logitech+headphone+with+mic – This headset is pretty cheap ($10) and works very well. I have used it to record YouTube videos for Professional development.
- YouTube Editor – https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/183851?hl=en – If you want to get fancy with your videos, and create professional looking videos, try this editor. Its free.
- Ideas to Bring iPods into the Classroom – http://edreach.us/2011/11/15/5-opportunities-to-get-ipods-ipads-into-your-classroom/ – If you’re finding it difficult to get technology into your room, try this suggestions for bringing iPods into the classroom. It never hurts to ask parents (PTA) for donated technology, to increase accessibility.
- Group work and stations – Get students to work toward assessing content, checking for mistakes, applying understanding by creating their own journals – but have them do it in groups that rotate through stations. As students move through each station, they can work as a group to comment and correct material at each station. When they move through stations as a group, they not only benefit from the work of their own group, but the ones who have rotated through the station before them, as they begin to dissect comments and corrections made by others.
- Today’s Meet – https://todaysmeet.com/ – If you’d like a simple backchannel style discussion thread that students can interact with in realtime, Today’s Meet is a great free option. You can setup a web link for them to access, and you can choose how long you want it to stay open. You also have the ability to download a copy of the discussion to print.
- Piazza – https://piazza.com/ – Great for Q&A style discussion between instructor and students.
- Google Classroom – Must be a Google Apps for Education district to use this http://www.alicekeeler.com/teachertech/2014/09/07/20-things-you-can-do-with-google-classroom/ – Use this tool to do a whole host of things, including the ability to comment and post questions.
- Google Docs as a Discussion Tool – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn6ZQB6fuQM – Google Drive/Docs is a free tool, so why not use a Google Doc as a discussion tool. Watch this video to learn tips!
- WordPress – https://wordpress.com/ – WordPress is a wonderful free tool to use to get your students into blogging. There’s also an app for it for iPad users.
- Blogger – https://www.blogger.com – If you have a Google Account, you already have access to a free Blogging Tool. Use Blogger!
- Tips on creating Blog Content with Students – http://www.teachingquality.org/content/blogs/bill-ferriter/three-tips-classroom-blogging-projects